Monday, August 29, 2011

Fight the Good Fight of the Faith

12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.  (1 Timothy 6:12. ESV.)

In the introduction of his book AMAZING GRACE IN THE LIFE OF WILLIAM WILBERFORCE, John Piper wrote,
"Against great obstacles William Wilberforce, an evangelical member of Parliament, fought for the abolition of the African slave trade and against slavery itself until they were both illegal in the British empire.  The battle consumed almost forty-six years of his life (from 1787-1833)."

For forty-six years Wilberforce "fought the good fight", felt the sting of defeat, heartache of failure, and perhaps even hopelessness in the face of men, slavery, and wickedness.  But how does one "fight the good fight" especially for so long?  Piper, explaining Wilberforce's motivation states,
"No true Christian can endure in battling unrighteousness unless his heart is aflame with new spiritual affections, or passions.  'Mere knowledge is confessedly too weak.  The affections alone remain to supply the deficiency.'"

Piper goes on to say,
"That is what made Wilberforce tick.  He was not a political pragmatist.  He was a radically God-centered Christian who was a politician.  And his true affections for God based on the 'peculiar doctrines' of Christianity were the roots of his endurance in the cause of justice."

I hope one would look at me and call me "a radically God-centered Christian"!  If not, them there is something more I should be doing...even in the capacity of wife/mother/lady of the house.

The Life of a Follower of Christ

Regarding Wilberforce's daily activities, Piper notes,
"Beginning not long after his conversion and lasting until he was married eleven years later, he would now spend his days studying 'about nine or ten hours a day,' typically 'breakfasting alone, taking walks alone, dining with the host family and other guests but not joining them in the evening until he "came down about three-quarters of an hour before bedtime for what supper I wanted."'  'The bible became his best-loved book and he learned stretches by heart.'"

This gives me great encouragement in contrast to individuals who have called me "extreme", "bible thumper", and/or "religious zealot" for being in God's word daily (though, admittedly, far less than "nine or ten hours a day")!  Thank you, God!

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.  (Romans 15:13. ESV.)
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